Recently, due to the global pandemic of the new crown epidemic, and the United Kingdom’s ineffective fight against the epidemic, some individuals have proposed the theory of "herd immunity", which has caused huge controversy. However, the British government seems to have realized that this idea is unreliable. Perhaps due to the pressure of public opinion, it has shifted its focus to suppressing the epidemic. It also pointed out that herd immunity is by no means a goal or a policy.
Why is the "herd immunity" theory criticized? The question that the British government has not figured out and clarified is: Is the virus likely to mutate? How long can the effect of immunity last? How can the frail elderly protect their health? In addition, patients with mild illness are isolated at home and there are always people to take care of. This also increases the possibility of family transmission. How to solve this problem? Without answers to these questions, "herd immunity" was rashly put forward. As some commentators said, this is "taking the lives of the people to do roulette."
Perhaps this is a helpless move when there is no ability and means to fight the epidemic, but risking human life is a very disgusting behavior. Some netizens have given the British government the title of "Social Darwinism".
So what exactly does the term "social Darwinism" mean?
One thing must be made clear first: "Social Darwinism" was not proposed by Darwin. It only extracts a part of Darwin's natural selection theory and applies it to human society.
Darwin said that creatures keep reproducing, and offspring will inherit some of the characteristics of their parents, but each individual will be different. Since the natural resources are limited, the natural world will screen out some individuals who are not well adapted to nature through various methods. Individuals who adapt to nature can survive.
This situation is not only applicable to most of the animals we know, but even bacteria. For example, humans will use antibiotics to deal with bacteria. A large number of bacteria will be killed by antibiotics, but a small part will survive. Then, when these surviving bacteria continue to multiply, some bacteria resistant to antibiotics will be produced. This is also a manifestation of natural selection.
It is generally believed that the person who really applies Darwin's theory to human society is an English philosopher: Robert Spencer.
We often hear a saying: Natural selection in the race of things, survival of the fittest. This is the thought in Darwin's book The Origin of Species. After reading this book, Spencer came up with a phrase: Survival of the fittest. Therefore, he advocates laissez-faire capitalism. He believes that striving for survival will inspire individual self-improvement, and self-improvement can be inherited through inheritance. Spencer also respected Darwin. He never went to church, but when Darwin died, Spencer made an exception to go to church to attend his funeral.
It should be noted that Spencer did not use the term "social Darwinism" during his lifetime. After his death, people summarized his thinking as "Social Darwinism", and through many people's reinterpretation, it became more and more controversial. Some of them also put forward their own ideas based on social Darwinism.
Darwin's cousin Galton is also a believer in "social Darwinism". He proposed that human talents and qualities can be inherited through inheritance, so it is best not to allow those "unsuitable" people to overreproduce. What is an "unsuitable" person? Such as the people in the lunatic asylum, the people in the orphanage. If these people grow more than the "superior people", society will become an inferior society. Galton's thought later became the theoretical basis of eugenics.
Social Darwinism has also become a theoretical weapon for many people. They use this theory to justify social inequality, racial discrimination, and imperialism.
For example, the German philosopher Nietzsche wrote a book called "So Says Zarathustra". The name of the book is a bit confusing. In fact, "Zarathustra" refers to Zoroastrianism, the founder of Zoroastrianism (what we commonly call "Zoroastrianism"). In this book, Nietzsche used Zarathustra to express some of his philosophical thoughts. One of the central ideas is "Superman".
例如，德国哲学家尼采（Nietzsche）写了一本书，叫做《所以说Zarathustra》。这本书的名字有点混乱。实际上，“ Zarathustra”是指Zoroastrianism，即Zoroastrianism（我们通常称为“ Zoroastrianism”）的创始人。在这本书中，尼采利用扎拉图斯特拉来表达他的一些哲学思想。中心思想之一是“超人”。
Nietzsche's concept of "superman" is not the American superhero that we generally recognize. Nietzsche's "superman" refers to a human being in an ideal form. He is different from all existing human beings. "Superman" is not restricted by the social morality defined by human beings, because "Superman" will define social morality by itself.
Why does "Superman" not follow the social morality defined by most humans? Nietzsche believes that the existing social morality serves the weak. The weak make up the majority, and they cannot compete with the strong, so social morality is set to restrain the strong. However, the weak should perish, and there is no need to serve them with morality. When the weak are destroyed, society will become a "superhuman society."
This idea of Nietzsche was later used by Nazi Germany. Hitler was influenced by Nietzsche and proposed that Germans are noble Aryans, while Jews and other nations are low-level nations, so he launched the genocide of Jews and aggression against European countries, using Nietzsche's theory to increase his behavior. The so-called legitimacy.
In fact, Nietzsche did not mean this. He did not support anti-Semitism during his lifetime, and he also opposed German nationalism. His "Superman" also does not define Superman as a dictator. Nietzsche believes that Superman is willing to admit his mistakes and make himself better on the road of continuous correction and improvement. In the "superman society", everyone can make this society better through competition. Hitler re-understood and explained Nietzsche's philosophy and used it to serve fascism. From the above example, we can see that social Darwinism will be used by some people with ulterior motives and bring serious disasters to human society.
Another person who supports social Darwinism is Malthus, the British political economist. The ideas in his book "Principles of Demography" are a typical embodiment of social Darwinism.
Malthus’s main argument is this:
If the number of human beings is to grow, it will be restricted by objective living conditions. If the living conditions improve, there will be more and more people. But as there are more people, the population pressure will increase. In this way, people will find ways to increase productivity and meet the needs of the growing population.
But in this way, you are caught in an endless loop: as productivity increases, people will become more people. Therefore, productivity has to increase again (this is like the more you make money, the more money you spend, it is impossible to just increase wages without rising consumption). However, in the long run, production growth cannot keep up with population growth. why? Because the growth methods of the two are different.
The population growth is a kind of "geometric growth." In other words, if a person has 3 children, each of these 3 children has 3 children, the population growth will double like a pyramid shape. The increase in productivity is impossible to achieve this level. If there is no major disaster, the older generation is still there, and the new generation is growing, and sooner or later everyone's per capita resources will be insufficient. Therefore, Malthus felt that population growth needs to be controlled.
Moreover, Malthus has a very controversial argument: He feels that it is the lower classes that slow down social progress. Therefore, when he said controlling population, he mainly meant controlling the growth of the lower class and the poor. This kind of anti-humanity argument has also aroused many criticisms.
But over time, people slowly discovered that Malthus's very assumption was actually inaccurate. He did not expect that technology has advanced so quickly, nor did he expect that many people would spontaneously not want to have children. Therefore, some people criticized Malthus as the "cursed prophet of failure".
The theory of Social Darwinists has long been out of fashion in modern society. The biggest loophole in their theory lies in: how to distinguish the difference between "superior", "inferior", "strong" and "weak"? It is transformable between good and bad, strong and weak, rich and poor. Is there a specific quantitative standard for artificial classification of people?
Secondly, even if the so-called "weak" are all eliminated as the social Darwinists say, how should society divide labor? Among the remaining so-called "strong ones," pros and cons will inevitably arise. This does not depend on human will, but is determined by biological characteristics. In this way, social Darwinism will form an endless loop. If we continue to eliminate the so-called "weak", then mankind will inevitably head towards a path of extinction.
Of course, the concept of "herd immunity" put forward by the United Kingdom should not be confused with "social Darwinism", because although their theory is wrong, its basis is to achieve the ultimate goal of protecting human life through herd immunity, and its purpose is not to Take the initiative to eliminate some people. However, if they really do this, the final result may be that some people will really be eliminated first. This is why they are generally criticized.
The biggest difference between humans and animals is that humans are human. In the animal kingdom, the weak eat the strong, and many groups will abandon the old, the weak, the sick and the disabled because they have no use value for this animal group. However, human beings, as higher creatures, protect the right of each individual to survive. This is the foundation of human ethics and the foundation of maintaining the stability of human society.